Added by NAS
29th Jan 2020

Learn about James Webb Telescope

The Norwich Astronomical Society are going to become the Norfolk representatives for the AstroBoost project, which aims to increase public awareness and understanding of the James Webb Space Telescope (known as Webb) space mission.

(NASA image)

The James Webb telescope, due to launch in 2021, has 18 foldable hexagonal segments that make up the 6.5m primary mirror. The instruments will be looking at the infrared light from distant and ancient objects along with peering through nebulae (dust clouds) to observe the formation of stars and planets. Spectrometers will measure the atmosphere on exoplanets to increase our understanding of these mysterious worlds orbiting distant stars.

The AstroBoost  project is managed by the James Webb Space Telescope UK Campaign, building upon a Royal Astronomical Society initiative. In this new project phase, nine societies from across the UK will receive special training and educational resources related to the mission.

AstroBoost aims to increase public awareness of Webb, its objectives and the technologies involved. The UK played a major role in development of the telescope, and it is hoped that its story will provide people a springboard into interest and participation in astronomy and engineering.

The AstroBoost project has been designed and delivered by science communications expert Dr Jenny Shipway and was funded by The Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC) Spark Awards and the James Webb Space Telescope UK campaign. STFC is part of UK Research and Innovation – the UK body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations, businesses, charities, and government to create the best possible environment for research and innovation to flourish.

After training, which takes place on 20th March 2020, we will be sharing our knowledge of this exciting project through our outreach activities. Included in our participation of this project is provision of an infrared camera. This will allow us to educate the public why this has been chosen as the primary technology for the James Webb telescope through demonstrations on the difference between visual light and infrared light. Such demonstrations will play a key part in our activities from April 2020 onwards, including the ever popular Norwich Science Festival.

Since the IR camera does not require dark skies, we will be able to hold group visits throughout the summer season (May to September). Any groups interested in learning about the James Webb Space Telescope please contact the Society through the For more information contact the or


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Image: SH-157 Claw Nebula

by Martin Stirland